Dogbane Preserve, A Cultural Treasure

Dogbane Preserve, A Cultural Treasure

Dogbane Cordage

Join LandPaths and ethnobotony expert Autumn Summers in partnership with the Sonoma County Agricultural Preservation and Open Space District as we steward this culturally and historically rich parcel of open space, while learning the ancient skill of weaving rope out of Dogbane.  Click here to learn more.


Just off of Highway 101 near the Wells Fargo Center on the north side of Santa Rosa is a little known but very special parcel of open space - the Dogbane Preserve.  The 3.3 acre, greenbelt property was protected by the Sonoma County Agricultural Preservation and Open Space District in 1997, in large part because it is home to the Dogbane plant – an important cultural resource of the Native American community.  

Creating cordage, or rope, out of fibers such as Dogbane is the backbone of California native technologies. For centuries, Native Americans have come to this particular spot from all over the state, and beyond, to harvest the plant for use in making cordage, nets, bags, baskets, snares, sandals, fish lines, boats and belts. This Santa Rosa site was known by tribes as far away as Oregon to have superior Dogbane that possessed exceptionally long fibers and cordage of an unusual reddish brown color.  

Dogbane's scientific name is Apocynum cannabinum and refers to the plant's toxic nature, which has been described as "poisonous to dogs." Apocynum means "Away dog!" and cannabinum means "like hemp," referring to the strong cordage that can be made by weaving together the stem's tough fibers; hence the common name - Dogbane.

Please join us for this very special day of stewardship and skill building, as we gather together at this culturally and historically rich parcel of open space.  When and where:  Saturday, February 20th at the Dogbane Preserve. Preregistration required. Click to register.

Posted at 12:24

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